A creative mind is a dangerous thing

Added: Lamarr Lipscomb - Date: 20.02.2022 03:34 - Views: 49111 - Clicks: 3190

Posted March 21, Reviewed by Devon Frye. Historically, the creative geniuses—such luminaries as Michelangelo, Mozart, and Picasso—are lauded for their brilliant and lasting contributions to the arts. The Thomas Edisons, Henry Fords, Albert Einsteins, and Marie Curies of science permanently changed the way the world operates, with accomplishments that could only have been produced by the most creative of minds. Against this compelling backdrop, we may, therefore, wonder why anyone would propose that creativity can have a dark side.

The examples of creativity we tend to remember are those that brought improvements to the world, if not our own daily lives. We put in a different category the creative geniuses whose powers were put to harmful use. But are they, in fact, exercising the same skill? Creativity can be harmful without being malevolent, according to this view. A creative individual may make a scientific or cultural contribution that has unintended negative consequences. For example, 3-D plastic printing can be used to create artificial limbs that help people navigate their world more adaptively—or handguns that escape metal detectors.

Facebook can be used to promote social interaction and maintain long-distance bonds—or it can be put to the harmful goal of cyberbullying. In malevolent creativity, the original intent is to cause harm.

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Malevolent creativity is aimed toward destructive consequences only. From committing acts of criminal activity or serial murder to terrorism, the malevolently creative seek to attack targets, invoke fearand assert their power. The malevolently creative attempt to manipulate others to their own ends, create mischief just for the sake of creating mischief, and try to deceive the people closest to them. Harris and Reiter-Palmon decided to tackle the roots of malevolent creativity in personality —specifically, by investigating the role of aggression. They were particularly interested in implicit aggression, or the tendency to rationalize an aggressive course of action in a given situation.

People who are prone to aggression tend to act out, as you might guess, without giving it much thought. However, if they consider the future consequences of their actions, they are able to manage and even control their aggressive impulses. The tendency toward malevolent creativity, then, may reflect a combination of factors from the individual aggressiveness and the situation that triggers the response. A sample of undergraduates 31 percent male; average age 25 years old completed a series of questionnaires intended to assess implicit aggression, a tendency toward premeditation, and divergent creativity the ability to think of multiple solutions to a problem.

The key question was whether the tendency toward implicit aggression would interact with premeditation to influence the of creative ideas that flowed in response to the malevolently creative problem the one that elicited feelings of rage and a desire A creative mind is a dangerous thing revenge.

As predicted, when the researchers presented them with the problem that triggered malevolent creativity, participants high in implicit aggression and low in premeditation expressed the largest of malevolently-themed solutions. When presented with the more benign problem that triggered prosocial motives of helping others and cooperating, those high in implicit aggression, even if they were high in impulsiveness, were far less destructive in their imagined solutions.

Being able to hold off on their impulses, in other words, can make even those primed to be aggressive less harmful when provoked. There are important implications of this laboratory investigation of malevolent creativity for everyday life. As Harris and Reiter-Palmon point out, toxic work conditions in which bosses place their employees under stresspromote competitionand in general are abusive and hostile are more likely to produce employees who actively try to harm, outdo, and manipulate each other. Similarly, we might argue that in the home, malevolent creativity can also inadvertently be fostered among siblings when their parents reinforce aggression and themselves are abusive.

Creativity can help everyone lead a more fulfilling life, especially when we recognize its potential dark side.

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Follow me on Twitter swhitbo for updates on psychology, health, and aging. Harris, D. Fast and furious: The influence of implicit aggression, premeditation, and provoking situations on malevolent creativity. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, And the Arts, 9 1 Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.

Her latest book is The Search for Fulfillment. Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph. Fulfillment at Any Age. Does Creativity Have its Dark Side? When creativity turns malevolent, you'll want to stay out of its way. References Harris, D. About the Author. Read Next. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index.

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A creative mind is a dangerous thing

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The Dark Side of Creativity